Appetizer — Melted Brie with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Liza Copeland, S/V BAGHEERA, served this to us in Desolation Sound, British Columbia, Canada, years ago. Serve it with plain Saltine crackers, letting each of your guests scrape some of the melted cheese and sun dried tomatoes from the serving plate and spread it onto a cracker. Can't be beat.

Ingredients:

  • One round of a nice Brie cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup or more Sun dried tomatoes, in an herb and oil marinade, cut into strips
  • Box of plain Saltine crackers

Instructions:

  1. Place the Brie into the center of a microwave safe serving plate or flat soup bowl.
  2. Scatter the Sun-dried tomatoes over the top of and around the Brie.
  3. Pour some of the oil marinade from the jar of Sun-dried tomatoes over the top of the Brie.
  4. Heat on High in microwave oven for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the cheese softens, but does not become runny.
  5. Serve immediately with Saltine crackers.

Enjoy!

 

Dessert — ADAGIO’s Fresh Apple Cake

This is based on a recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl, 2004. I have made modifications. I have always baked this cake in a Bundt cake pan, but I would expect it to do well as two round cake layers, with the cooking time reduced to about 45 minutes. I like to substitute 1/2 cup applesauce for 1/2 cup of the Canola Oil, as described below.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose white Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1-1/2 cups Canola Oil (or 1 cup Canola Oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp grated Nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon dark Rum or 1-1/2 tsp Rum extract
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 medium-sized Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup whole Almonds

Equipment:

A 12-cup Bundt cake pan

Instructions:

  1. Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 ° F (175° C).
  2. Thoroughly butter and flour the Bundt pan, knocking out excess flour.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the Flour, Baking Soda and Salt.
  4. In a larger bowl, whisk together the Oil, Eggs, Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Rum/Extract, Vanilla (and applesauce if you are using it), until just combined.
  5. With a large spoon or spatula, fold in the flour mixture until just combined, then fold in the Apples, Cranberries and Almonds.
  6. Spoon the batter into the pan.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 ° F (175° C) oven, until a knife or a wooden toothpick inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean — about 1-1/4 hours.
  8. Cool the cake upright in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cake upside down onto the rack to cool completely.
  9. Remove the pan from the cake after it has cooled.

Serve plain or with Rum Sauce and Whipped Cream.

Enjoy!

 

Dessert — ADAGIO’s Boatmeal Cookies

An old family recipe was the origin of this cookie, to which we have made many changes. We like to bake 1/3 of the dough, and refrigerate the remaining dough for baking later. The refrigerated dough makes a crunchier and crisper cookie.

If you don't have time to prepare a proper breakfast, grab two or three of these cookies and a glass of milk, and you'll be happy. This is very useful aboard a boat, when events sometimes happen quite quickly and unexpectedly, even when it's time to eat.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Canola Oil
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 1 T Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T Coconut Extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup White Flour
  • 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 cup Soy Four
  • 1/4 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Wheat Germ

Bulky Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Rolled Oats (large, regular oatmeal, not the quick cooking kind)
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies (Rice Bubbles) cereal
  • 2 cups Special K cereal
  • 1 cup grated Coconut
  • 1-1/2 cups Dried Cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups Whole Almonds

Instructions:

  1. In an electric mixer, blend Oil and Brown Sugar for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add the Vanilla and Coconut Extracts.
  4. Add the Dry Ingredients, 1/4 cup at a time, and mix well. The batter will be stiff.
  5. Mix the Bulky Ingredients together by hand in a very large bowl. The bowl I use measures 13 inches (340 mm) in diameter.
  6. Using a large spatula, slowly fold the batter from the electric mixer bowl into the bulky ingredients. The mixture will be stiff, so take your time, and stir until the batter is evenly mixed.
  7. Coat a baking sheet with Canola Oil, or use a silicone baking sheet liner, and place large tablespoons of cookie dough onto the baking sheet.
  8. Bake in a 200° C preheated oven for 20 minutes, until browned.
  9. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. Store cooled cookies in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

 

Enjoy!

 

Dessert — Berry or Cherry Pie Made with Frozen Fruit

From The Joy of Cooking, first published in 1931. My edition was printed in June, 1972.
Sometime during the 1990's, The Joy of Cooking was re-written. I found it a big disappointment. The new Joy of Cooking omitted numerous recipes that are not available in other cookbooks. This is one of those recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 20 oz frozen berries or cherries, defrosted enough so that the fruit separates easily
  • 3 Tb Quick-Cooking Tapioca
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tb Melted Butter

Instructions:

  1. Mix the ingredients listed above and let stand for 15 minutes:
  2. Make dough for a double-crust 9″ pie.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 450 ° F (230 ° C).
  4. Line a pie pan with pie crust dough.
  5. Fill the pie shell with the berry mixture.
  6. Cover with crust or lattice and bake in a preheated 450 ° F (230 ° C) oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat and bake at 350 ° F (175 ° C) for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Cool on a rack until comfortable enough to handle.
  9. Serve warm or cool.
  10. Store in refrigerator.

Enjoy!

 

Dessert — Chocolate Pear Cake

First made in Bay of Islands, New Zealand, May, 2010

This is a deliciously moist brownie, topped with poached pears. It can be made with or without butter, and tastes wonderful both ways. I substitute applesauce and oil for the butter.

Ingredients:

  • 5 Pears
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice or Vinegar or Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 4 oz (113 gms) unsalted butter at room temperatureor: 4 oz (113 gms) applesauce and 2 T Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
  • 4 large Eggs at room temperature
  • 4 oz (113 gms) Dark Chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup all purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond Meal (finely ground almonds)
  • 4 Tb unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp granulated Sugar

Instructions for Poaching the Pears:

  1. Peel the pears, then cut in half lengthwise, and remove the core.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup Water with the 1 tsp Vinegar or juice.
  3. Place the Pear halves flat side down in a microwave-proof dish.
  4. Add the Water and Vinegar mixture.
  5. Cover with cling wrap, and microwave for 5 minutes on High. Or you can poach the pears in the liquid in a covered pan on the stove top, until tender but not mushy.
  6. Drain the pears and allow to cool.

Instructions for Making the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175° C (350° F).
  2. Butter or oil a 9 or 10 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. I sometimes use a round, silicone cake pan.
  3. Melt the Chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute. Do not burn. Or melt the Chocolate in a double boiler. Allow to cool.
  4. Stir together the Flour, Almond Meal, Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder and Salt. Set aside.
  5. Beat the butter (or Applesauce and Canola Oil) with the sugar on medium speed in an electric mixer, or with a wire whisk by hand.
  6. Add the Eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Add the melted Chocolate and stir or beat until combined.
  8. Add the Flour mixture and beat or stir for one minute, or until just combined.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  10. Arrange the pear halves in a circle on the top of the batter, flat side down.
  11. Sprinkle the top of the pears with 1 tsp Sugar.
  12. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  13. Cool the cake in its pan on a rack, until cool enough to handle, then remove it and place on a serving plate.

Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or thick plain yoghurt.

Enjoy!

 

Dessert — Vegan Avocado Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

We made this for our daughter's birthday cake in 2013. It was a huge success!

A moist, vegan chocolate cake made with Avocado.
Author: Monique of AmbitiousKitchen.com

Serves: 12

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 3 oz good-quality vegan Chocolate (I used regular dark chocolate, Dorothy)
  • 2/3 cup freshly brewed Coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 large very ripe Avocado, mashed (I used a whole avocado, Dorothy)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened soy, coconut, or almond Milk (I used regular lowfat milk, Dorothy)
  • 1/2 cup vegan Chocolate Chips (I used regular chocolate chips, Dorothy)
  • Canola Oil and extra flour to prepare the pan

Ingredients for the vegan Ganache:

  • 8 oz vegan Chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk (lite or full-fat), plus more if necessary

Instructions for Cake:

  1. Oil and flour a 12-cup bundt cake pan with Canola oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, (180 degrees C).
  3. Place a small saucepan over low heat and add 3 oz of good-quality vegan chocolate and freshly brewed coffee. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  5. In a separate large bowl, beat together mashed avocado, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  6. Whisk in cooled chocolate and your milk of choice.
  7. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  8. Gently fold in 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips. Your cake batter should be pretty thick. If it’s too thick, add in an extra tablespoon or two of milk.
  9. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and smooth the top.
  10. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until tester inserted into center of cake comes out almost clean, with just a few crumbs attached.
  11. Let cool in pan for an hour on a wire rack before turning the cake over and transferring to wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Instructions for vegan chocolate ganache:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add coconut milk and chopped chocolate.
  2. Watch carefully and whisk until chocolate is completely melted. If you want a thinner ganache, add more coconut milk.
  3. Let stand for a few minutes then immediately spoon ganache over the cake.
  4. Top ganache with sprinkles, more chocolate chips, nuts, or another topping of choice.
  5. Serve immediately!

Enjoy!

 

Dessert — PAVLOVA (Hazelnut Gateau)

Compliments of the White Morph Hotel and Restaurant in Kaikoura, New Zealand, in approximately 1997. (The White Morf is a form of the Southern giant petrel bird.)

As uninitiated New Zealand citizens, touring the country, we stayed one night while on the South Island, in the White Morph Hotel, within sight of the amazing Kaikoura mountain range. A resident pod of Sperm Whales can be viewed from boats year-round. At the White Morf, we ordered our first ever Pavlova. It was exquisitely delicious, so I boldly asked the chef, Judy, for the recipe. This is the recipe as she hand wrote it for me on hotel stationery. The kindness of Kiwis has always impressed us.

Ingredients for the Gateau:

  • 1-1/4 cups Egg whites
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated Sugar
  • 1 pinch of Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch of Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp white Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • Hazelnuts, chopped

Ingredients for Decoration:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Whipped Cream
  • Fresh Fruit, cut into chunks
  • Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)

Instructions for Making the Gateau:

  1. Beat Egg whites together with the Baking Powder and Cream of Tartar until light and stiff.
  2. Slowly beat in the Sugar, a Tablespoon at a time.
  3. When firm peaks form, beat in the Vanilla, Vinegar and Cornflour.
  4. Shape the mixture into two rounds on greaseproof paper on baking trays.
  5. Sprinkle a layer of chopped Hazelnuts onto each round and smooth over the top with a spatula.
  6. Preheat oven to 200° C (400° F).
  7. Put pans in the oven and turn the oven OFF.
  8. After 1-1/2 hours, the Pavlovas will be cooked. Judy leaves them in the oven overnight.
  9. Cool the cakes and turn them over onto two plates.
  10. Melt the Dark Chocolate and spread onto the cakes.

Decorate immediately before serving:

  1. Slice any fruit of choice onto the chocolate side of one of the cakes, and cover with 1 inch Whipped Cream.
  2. Place the other cake, Chocolate side down, on top of the Whipped Cream.
  3. Decorate the top of the cake with Whipped Cream and more Fresh Fruit.
  4. Serve with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream if you wish.

This is a Kiwi favorite recipe. However, the Aussies claim it as well.

Enjoy!

 

Fish — Deb’s Salmon Recipe with Red Thai Curry Paste

Steve's sister, Deb, and I share a love of cooking. This recipe arrived recently in an email message, and it looked so delicious that I had to include it.

“We came up with a great, easy recipe for salmon that I thought you might like.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of wild salmon fillet, cut into four pieces (to fit into the pan),
  • Red Thai Curry paste
  • Coconut milk
  • Brown Rice, cooked
  • Broccoli, steamed
  • Scallions, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Rub the fish all over with Red Thai Curry paste.
  2. Poach the fish in coconut milk until just tender.
  3. Serve with brown rice, steamed organic broccoli, chopped scallions, and lots of lovely poaching sauce.”

Deborah Crombie
Award-winning writer of mystery books

Enjoy!

 

Fish — Home Made Tom Douglas Salmon Rub

When we were aboard ADAGIO in Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA, we were introduced to the numerous “rubs” sold under the brand name of Tom Douglas. Our favorite was the Salmon Rub. We are unable to buy this rub in New Zealand and Australia, so we reverse-engineered the recipe. Here is is. Be sure to use Sweet Smoked Paprika, NOT HOT Smoked Paprika.

Mix together the Salmon Rub:

  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Instructions For Cooking the Fish:

  1. Heat a Wok on High heat.
  2. Add 3 Tb Olive Oil and stir to coat the pan
  3. Place fillets of Salmon into the hot oil, first one side then the other to coat both sides with oil.
  4. Sprinkle Salmon Rub onto the fish.
  5. Cook for 1 minute.
  6. Turn the heat down to Medium.
  7. Turn the fish over, and add more Olive Oil to the pan if necessary.
  8. Sprinkle the Salmon Rub onto the second side of the fish.
  9. Cook for another minute, testing for doneness.
  10. When the fish is just flaky but still a little soft in the center, remove it to a heated plate and cover.
  11. Deglaze the pan with a little white wine, and pour over the fish.
  12. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

Fish — Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

This recipe was inspired by Ruth Reichl's “The Courmet Cookbook”, and by Steve's and my visit to Argentina, where the Chimichurri Sauce is traditionally served with Carne Asada, a delicious grilled beef dish.

Quick to prepare, and quite tasty.
Serves 2 people as a main course.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound Ahi Tuna in 2 pieces, each about 1 inch thick, brought to room temperature before cooking.
  • 1 T Canola Oil
  • Chimichurri Sauce (See recipe elsewhere in this blog.)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the Canola oil in a Wok or skillet, over High heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to Medium, and place the Tuna in the Wok, turning over to coat with Oil on both sides.
  3. Cook for several minutes per side, until browned on both sides, and still soft in the center.

Serve the Tuna with the Chimichurri sauce on the side.

I recommend a loaf of Ciabatta bread, or other crusty bread and a green salad as well.

Enjoy!